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The Greater Kingdom

   by Peter Holleran

   "Nothing I say can explain to you Divine Love, Yet all of creation cannot seem to stop talking about it." - Rumi (1)

   “In the intellectual world everything is transparent, and all the essences see one another and interpenetrate one another in the most intimate depths of their natures.” - Plotinus

   "One should pay attention to even the smallest of living creatures for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us, and even the smallest ant may wish to communicate to people." - Black Elk (2)

   "We tell our children strange tales that bring a yearning wonder into their eyes, for out of the far past their simple and unstained souls remember lands peopled with fairies and gods." - Paul Brunton

   "Anything will give you its secrets if you love it enough." - George Washington Carver

   Can there be any soul who doubts the wonderful mystery of the intricate web of life and the divine intelligence running through it that continues to delight us all? Studying and observing the human-like behavior and intuitive capacity of animals of all species is a path unto itself for the realization of unity.

   One of the first beautiful books to appear in the modern era regarding this phenomena was the delightful and inspiring Kinship with All Life by J. Allen Boone. In it he tells of his remarkable encounters and relationships with the Hollywood star actor dog Strongheart, as well as birds, ants and other creatures including a pet fly that would come when he called its name and do “flips” on his finger upon request. He even claimed to communicate with one-celled organisms. This is not so far-fetched in light of recent research. INSCOM (the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command) in 1994,

   “did an experiment in which white blood cells were taken from the mouth of a volunteer and placed in a test tube in a different room from where the volunteer was seated. The donor was the shown a television program with a great deal of violent content. In the test tube containing his blood cells, researchers inserted a probe to monitor the level of cellular activity. They found that in the same moments the volunteer was watching scenes of fighting or killing, his blood cells, though situated in a room down the hall, showed signs of extreme excitation. They found the same results even when the cells were separated by up to fifty miles and up to two days after the cells were removed from his mouth." (3)

   Nor need we limit ourselves to animate life. Colin Drake writes:

   “ 'Becoming conscious of something' - it is easy to demonstrate that this does not necessarily require a brain; for all living things rely on awareness of their environment to exist and their behavior is directly affected by this.  This does show some ability to process incoming data and act (or react) according to this, but does not imply a ‘brain’ in the normal definition of the word... At the level of living cells and above this is self-evident, but it has been shown that even electrons change their behaviour when (aware of) being observed! Thus this awareness exists at a deeper level than body/mind and matter/energy.” (4)

   This paper intends to gently show that there is a universal conscious-intelligence active through all forms of nature, with varying degrees of awareness manifested in each. Perhaps only with a developed brain such as in man, the crown of creation, is there an evolutionary ability to make a self-referral and create a conscious ego, the eventual instrument of the soul to guide her to awakening; however, to see the flowing hand of the divine in our younger brothers and sisters in the family of God is a beautiful thing and a helpful attitude and sensitivity to have.

   J. Allen Boone was a fascinating man (1882 – 1965), a reporter and Washington correspondent, who was also very spiritual. He had friends in the movie business in Hollywood and that is how he came to become care-taker of Strongheart, a magnificent German import German Shepherd trained for police and movie work (one of the forerunners to Lassie and Rin Tin Tin). Strongheart was an amazing dog and Boone credits the canine with 'teaching' him how to communicate at deeper levels.

   Strongheart was delivered to Boone’s house by a man who was said to talk to Strongheart not the way people talked to dogs but as though he were talking to a person. Strongheart was told who Boone was and why he had to stay with him and to do the best he could by him.

   Strongheart listened, like he understood. Every now and then he would look over at Boone and scan him from head to toe, as though deciding for himself if he agreed. The man told Boone to also treat Strongheart exactly as you would treat a person. And was told not to talk down to him or use baby talk or to say anything to him that he did not sincerely mean. And that he should read something worthwhile to him every day.

   Boone didn’t know what Strongheart thought of him or how he was going to take care of him but he felt that Strongheart probably did and that he might somehow be able understand.

   When bedtime came Boone ran into a dilemma. Strongheart climbed on the bed and kept turning his backend towards Boones’ face. Boone kept trying to turn Strongheart around but ended up sleeping with Strongheart’s tail hitting him in the nose. As if that weren’t enough Strongheart kept jumping up at noises and every time he did Boone was toppled to the floor. Boone tried to correct Strongheart saying you either calm down or sleep somewhere else. But Strongheart grabbed hold of Boone’s sleeve and led him to the door where he had been jumping. Strongheart let go of Boone and grabbed the door knob and opened the door. Then he began looking towards the door then back at Boone and Strongheart was able to explain he preferred to sleep facing the door. And so Strongheart got Boone to turn the bed around so he could sleep facing the door. Boone writes he was actually conscious of being in rational correspondence with Strongheart. In Letters to Strongheart he tells with feeling of all the lessons he learned from this remarkable dog. On living with Strongheart, Boone wrote:

   “With the dog’s guiding help, and with him as the focal point for the experience, I was receiving priceless primary lessons in the cosmic art of seeing things as they really are - through the mists and barriers that seem to seprate all of us from one another.”

   “My greatest handicap in learning how to carry on rational silent conversation with Strongheart came from an assortment of wrong beliefs about dogs which I had absorbed from centuries of humanity’s wrong thinking about them. And one of the most arrogant of these ideas was the conceit that while I, because of my “divinely bestowed superiority,” was fully qualified to communicate certain thoughts down to animals, the animals, because of their “divinely bestowed inferiority were able to communicate little of real value up to me. And even when such upward communication was possible it could only be expressed crudely and in an extremely limited way, as befitted a “dumb creature operating from a lower order of intelligence.”

   “Strongheart knocked that nonsense out of me. Not all at once, but day by day and night by night as I trailed observantly behind him in open country or figuratively sat at his feet at home and let him quietly teach me things I so badly needed to know in order to become a better companion for him and a better citizen of the universe. When I was willing and ready to be taught by a dog, Strongheart shared precious wisdom with me, wonderful secrets having to do with the great dog art of living abundantly and happily in the present tense regardles of circumstances. Strongheart broke me of the bad habit of mentally looking down my nose at other living entities and other forms of life as inferior, limited or unrelated to me.”

   “He drilled this fact into me: that if I wanted to move with him in a really intelligent way, I would have to keep all my mental contacts with him as high, as horizontal and as wide open as possible. he taught me that I was always to regard him as an unconditional fellow being rather than as “a dog” in the conventional and restricted meaning of that term.”

   “I was privileged to learn from my dog instructor how to get my human ego and intellect out of the way, how to blend my best with Strongheart’s best, and how to let the Universe express itself through us, as the Universe with its wisdom and long experience well knows how to do.”

   Of his fellow man, Boone wrote:

   “If he thinks about it at all, the average human, with some degree of religious training, believes, at least in a nebulous sort of way, that all living creatures receive their life, being, energy, intelligence, capacities and abilities from the same infinitely divine Fountain-source. But with it he usually blends the conviction that this omnific Source, this great boundless, universal primal Intelligence which he has been taught to reverence as God uses only the human species as the medium for His omniscient wisdom and His important purposes.”

   “The more advanced among my species do not subscribe to the above. They believe that because God-intelligence and the God-power fill all space, and permeate all things, intelligence is everywhere present. So instead of giving ear only to those of our own species, they attune themselves inwardly, and listen for the great Voice of Existence, which, they say, speaks continuously to receptive hearts, through all things, at all times, in all places.”

   “Making use of some of the helpful postgraduate things you taught me I have made a point in my journey around the world to talk mentally to everything that came within the range of my observation and interest - humans, animals, trees, flowers, oceans, winds, sun, moon, stars.”

   “Wherever I have traveled with inward good will, tolerance, consideration, a desire to cooperate, understanding, gentleness and appreciation, those qualities came back to me in outward profusion from all directions - even from creeping and crawling things supposedly to be deadly foes.”

   Some notable wisdom quotes from Kinship with All Life:

   “We are members of a vast cosmic orchestra, in which each living instrument
   is essential to the complementary and harmonious playing of the whole.”

   "If you would learn the secret of right relations
   look only for the divine in people and things,
   and leave all the rest to God.”

   “The most effective way to achieve right relations
   with any living thing is to look for the best in it,
   and then help that best into the fullest expression.”

   "A man's soul can be judged by the way he treats his dog."

   “In all my journeyings in deserts, prairies and mountains I never once saw a rattlesnake coil,
   either by way of defense or attack, when an Indian walked into its close vicinity.”

   “Even the most dreaded of poisonous snakes is a kindly disposed fellow at heart.
   He wants to be understood and to understand.”

   One can only recall the many times cobra snakes and their mortal enemy the peacock would come for the darshan of Ramana Maharshi without any animosity between them, paid their respects, and then quietly went away. When Kirpal Singh gave satsang, there were also times when cobras would show up yet without harming anyone. People were afraid, but he told them to let them be, that they were there for darshan, too, and they left without incident when the meeting was over. Many siddhas and saints, such as Swami Rama Tirtha, Marpa, and Padmasambhava, would sleep in caves with wild animals such as leopards and tigers with no harm or fear. In fact, the lack of fear and the vibrations of love were the reason for the animals feelings of acceptance.

   Most every seeker has heard of the touching love affair between Ramana Maharshi and Lakshmi the cow. [For a much longer and more complete account compiled for David Godman's, The Power of the Presence; please click here, and scroll down past the introductory comments by and about Osho's views on Ramana]. Most interesting was that Ramana claimed that even animals were capable of attaining liberation, and Lakshmi was one example. On one occasion he said that she was in nirvikalpa samadhi, and at her death he said that she had reached mukti. Ramana's views on liberation were non-conventional to some extent, and this view is in contrast with most traditional sources that say only in a man-body can one attain spiritual liberation. Supposedly part of the reason is the need for the ability to create a self-reflection in the mind, or ego, the physical correlate being an advanced cortex, in order to have an intellect that can pursue wisdom. The Chandogya Upanishad tells us that besides the 'two paths', that of deva-yana or the path of the gods, the solar path of light, and the ptri-yana, or that of the manes, or ancestors (i.e., ignorance), there is the tritiyam-sthanam, or what is simply called the 'third position'. This is the endless cyclic life of the 'small creatures' not guided by any understanding of the meaning of life. In my heart I hope that this is outdated by what we now know about the intelligence of all sentient life, especially in creatures such as dolphins, whose brains process six times faster than humans. In Tibetan Buddhism, the animal realm is one of the six realms of existence, supposedly lesser than human and characterized by ignorance of discriminating wisdom. However, Adyashanti wrote:

   "Awakeness is inherent in all things and all beings everywhere all the time...behind all of your desires [is] a single desire: to experience each moment from your true nature."

   Similarly, Dzogchen Ponlop, speaking of the nature of mind, and also of the bardos after death:

   "It is the same whether you are a human being or another form of sentient being. The nature of mind is the same. It arises and it manifests within the space of your awareness in its own natural state."

   "Whether one is a practitioner or not, this experience of luminosity
[the 'dark ground luminosity' of the bardo of dharmata that dawns at the moment of death, theoretically a fleeting chance at liberation] manifests unfailingly for all beings."

   "This pure experience of the vajra world
[the second or 'sambhogakaya' stage of the bardo, one of great luminosity] is the unfailing experience of all sentient beings who have passed through the stages of death and arrived at the bardo of dharmata. The experience is the same for every sentient being, whether its form is that of an ant, a donkey or a human." (7)

   Whether or not an animal (or even most humans) can convert these states into liberation has been debated. It may be just a romantic fantasy I harbor, contradicted by all the 'facts' of evolution, but certainly the universal Intelligence from All-Consciousness runs through all beings, and in that sense such things might be possible.

   It has, for instance, been proven scientifically that the heart is a primary organ of perception, and such was the ancient view where the heart, not the brain, was considered the seat of the soul.

   In an excellent book, The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature, Stephen Buhner explains the important role the heart plays in perception, cognition, emotion, and also its intimate connections with the central nervous system and the brain structures such as the amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, and cortex. Indeed, the heart is considered by many researchers to be a second brain, consisting of sixty-five percent neural tissue and also secreting neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine:

   "Most indigenous and historical peoples would locate the self...in the region of the heart. For most of our human history of habitation on Earth, that is where the seat of intelligence, the seat of the soul, was located. That this has changed is more an expression of how and what we are taught in Western cultures than of some exact truth. For consciousness is highly mobile and is able to use a variety of locations in the body through which to process the information we receive from the world. The location that most people now identify with as themselves, oriented in the brain, is only one of them."

   "The heart possesses its own nervous system and, in essence, is a specialized brain that processes specific types of information...The heart also has its own memory. People who receive transplanted hearts often take on behaviors common to the person to whom the heart originally belonged."

   "Analysis of information flows into the human body has shown that much of it impacts the heart first, flowing to the brain only after it has been perceived by the heart. What this means is that our experience of the world is routed first through our heart, which "thinks" about the experience and then sends the data to the brain for further processing. When the heart receives information back from the brain about how to respond, the heart analyzes it and decides whether or not the actions the brain wants to take will be effective. The heart routinely engages in a neural dialogue with the brain and, in essence, the two decide together what actions to take."

   "The whole body is cradled within the electromagnetic field generated by the heart. The information embedded within that field is communicated to the external world through electromagnetic waves reaching out from the body...As with all electromagnetic waves, there is no limit to how far the heart's electromagnetic field actually travels, whether we can measure it or not."

   According to Bruhner, the heart has been shown to have an electromagnetic field five thousand times as large as that of the brain, through which it is in communication with the body and the world. The heart is not even primarily a pump to push all of the blood through the body, as commonly taught. Indeed, amazingly, the blood circulates on its own (!) in a dual-current spiralling vortex which is one-third a vacuum (even embryologically this blood circulation occurs before the heart fully forms and starts its pulsation), and the heart on its own is not even close to being powerful enough to pump the blood through sixty-thousand miles of vessels; to do so it would have to be powerful enough to push a hundred pound weight a mile or more up into the sky! Whereas the pumping power of the right ventricle is enough to spurt blood only one foot high, and the left ventricle six feet high. What the heart does as far as pumping goes is more modest: to modulate and adjust the flow, and route it to the lungs for oxygenation and thence to the body as needed. As a primary endocrine gland it also secrets important hormones that go to and regulate every gland, organ, and cell in the body. While circulating, the blood cells themselves also rotate on their own axis and while doing so transmit electromagnetic impulses throughout the body. (8a)

   Above and beyond this, however, the heart is an organ of perception. It perceives, then feels, then transmits information to the hippocampus which along with the cortex extracts meaning from the experience and stores that as memory in the brain. But certain primary forms of memory are also stored in the heart. This has long been the esoteric doctrine. If this be the case, and if there be one Universal spirit pervading all, then lesser developed animals would be capable of communicating with each other as well as humans through a 'silent language', through pictographs as well as vibrations, which sensitive individuals can learn to 'decipher' into their own language. Paul Brunton's mentalistic doctrine in which the World-Mind projects a World-Idea in seed-form into the heart and from there it travels to the brain 'producing a world for our experience is compatible with this view. Even plants, as the famous professor Chandra Bose (1858-1937) has shown, have sophisticated nervous systems and electro-magnetic fields almost indistinguishable from that of humans that are capable of transmitting and receiving messages from their environment, even at great distances and/or despite intervening metal shields in various experiments, etc.. Even 'inert matter' such as a piece of tin-foil has been shown in experiments to respond to human intentionality!

   Animals, certainly, then, would be able to attain liberation without a developed neo-cortex, if the heart be the dwelling place of the soul or spirit. It remains a possibility. For humans, while this may be true, there is still a purpose behind our specialized brain. The intelligence must be enlightened as well. One must come to understand his experience and enlightenment. Humans are different from lower forms of life, in that in order for wisdom to arise the mind and heart must be as one. This is in line with the scientific research that Bruhner writes about in his book, where even physically there is extensive and intimate neurological and electro-magnetic feedback between the heart and the brain. Moreover, through trans-cranial magnetic fields, every brain cell has been shown to have instantaneous connection with every other, and is not dependent on the much slower means of chemical communication as once thought.

   For animals, the connection to feeling perception is more direct and immediate than in humans. It is an open question whether they can or need to extract the meaning from their experiences in the way a human must do in order to fulfill their destiny. However, as the mind is not limited by the brain, nor the heart by the fleshy organ, even that is a possibility. Spiritual teacher anadi concurs that the heart is an organ of perception, and that (for humans) it must be united with the intelligence of the mind for the wisdom of the soul to manifest:

   "How we feel determines the very meaningfulness of our existence. The heart is the center of feeling and the center of perception. Whether we are conscious of it or not, all that we experience is registered and interpreted in the heart. Most people simply do not feel what their heart feels; they feel what their mind 'feels'. Their actions and responses are not rooted in the knowing of the heart, for their connection to the heart is blocked."

   "Because the heart's deep wisdom originates from the soul, our highest being, it operates in a different way than the intelligence of the mind. The wisdom of the heart is not based on methodical reasoning or the analysis of events, but on the direct discernment of right from wrong. The decision-making process within the heart relies on intuition, feeling and pure-knowing."

   "Higher wisdom is born of the integration of the intelligence of the mind with the sensitivity of the heart. To access the heart's inherent wisdom, we must see its clear reflection in the mirror of the mind's intelligence. The mind has to tune into and decode the inner voice of the soul, and with discrimination and understanding articulate the heart's guidance."

   It is a beautiful thought of Bhagavan's, in any case, relieving the mind of judgement over such matters; it gives one a sublime feeling and a sense of the mystery of existence. (9a)

   Ramana was fond and loving to all the animals who frequented his ashram, especially monkeys and dogs. There were orders that no snake or scorpion should be harmed in any way. [Major Chadwick said, however, that Ramana was not particularly fond of cats or mongooses, as he felt that they, respectively, wanted to kill the many squirrels and chipmunks and cobras that he befriended].The following is a tender example of the open-heartedness of this great saint:

   “It was the early hours of the morning in the Hall of Sri Bhagavan. He had had His bath, and now went to the farther end of the Hall to take His towel that hung from a horizontally suspended bamboo, at one end of which a sparrow had built her nest and laid therein three or four eggs."

   "In the process of taking His towel Sri Bhagavan's hand came against the nest, which shook violently, so that one of the eggs dropped down. In this way the egg was cracked; Sri Bhagavan was taken aback, aghast. He cried out to Madhavan, the personal attendant. "Look, look what I have done today!" So saying, He took the cracked egg in His hand looked at it with His tender eyes, and exclaimed: "Oh, the poor mother will be so sorrow-stricken, perhaps angry with me also, at my causing the destruction of her expected little one! Can the cracked eggshell be pieced together again? Let us try!"

   "So saying, He took a piece of cloth, wetted it, wrapped it around the broken egg, and put it back in the mother's nest. Every three hours He would take out the cracked egg, remove the cloth, place the egg on His roseate palm, and gaze at it with His tender eyes for minutes together."

   "What was He really doing at this time? How can we say? Was He sending with those wonderful looks of gentle Grace life-giving beams into the cracked egg, putting ever newer warmth and life into it? That is a mystery none can solve. Yet He kept on saying: "Let the crack be healed! Cannot this be hatched even now? Let the little one come from this broken egg!"

   "This anxious concern and tenderness of Sri Maharshi continued from day to day for about a week. So the fortunate egg lay in the nest with its wet bandage cloth, only to be fondled by Sri Maharshi with divine touch and benign look. On the seventh day, He takes out the egg, and with the astonishment of a schoolboy announces: "Look what a wonder! The crack has closed, and so the mother will be happy and will hatch her egg after all! My God has freed me from the sin of causing the loss of a life. Let us wait patiently for the blessed young one to come out!"

   " A few more days pass, and at length one fine morning Bhagavan finds the egg has been hatched and the little bird has come out. With gleeful smiling face radiant with the usual light, He takes the child in His hand, caresses it with lips, stroking it with His soft hand, and passes it on for all the bystanders to admire. He receives it back at last into His own hands, and is so happy that one little germ of life has been able to evolve in spite of the unhappy accident to it in the embryo.”

   Sri Bhagavan saw the divine in all things. He once remarked:

   “A frog is often compared to a yogi. It remains quiet for a long time, the only sign of life being the rhythmic movement of the under-skin below the neck. Again frogs can remain for extraordinary long periods with their animation suspended. They are said to swallow their tongues.Swallowing the tongue is a yogic practice. The animation is suspended. The yogi does not die but the tongue must be drawn out by someone else before life-activity is resumed..It is a wonder how the frog brings out the already swallowed tongue and resumes activity.” (11)

   Sant Kirpal Singh said:

   “The whole creation is the temple of God. There is no place where He is not. In minerals life is sleeping; in plants life is dreaming; in birds and animals life is awakening; and in man life is awake. As such we are brothers of all creatures, of plants, of birds and animals. So the flowers and trees, sparrows and doves are as members of our own order. How simple, pure, loving and beautiful they are. We should love all. We should live in fellowship with all creatures with all life. One must not interfere with the life of any animal in God's creation.” (12)

   When building Manav Kendra in the late 1960's, a retreat center, farm, hospital, and elder care facility in Dehra Dhun, India, Kirpal Singh was very careful that the workers not to harm any living thing unnecessarily:

   "The site for Manav Kendra was almost a jungle, and in those early days we had no accommodation at all. The Beloved Master used to come and sit in His car when it rained and do His work there. Whenever it was sunny He would sit under a tree along with us. As we worked, He went on dealing with the correspondence. Now and then He would inquire about the work and visit the construction sites."

   "In those early days we would come across a lot of cobras. We brought this to the notice of the Beloved Master. Out of compassion for all, He mentioned that as we were destroying their natural habitat, why should we kill them? We should give them other accommodations. Since that day we never molested any cobra, and instead would cover them with mud and lift them out of our way; they would then find another place to live."

   "One other thing that I noticed was that Master never liked the idea of cutting down a tree unless it was absolutely necessary and construction work could not possibly proceed without this vandalism. One day I mentioned to the Master that the cutting of certain trees was unavoidable for carrying on the work. My gracious Lord replied, “Trees and water are the greatest blessings of God. Before cutting any tree, think it over thoroughly.” The result of this policy is that a tree still grows through the roof of the Master’s residence at Sawan Ashram. Thus at Manav Kendra too we were able to build His house incorporating a large tree in the main room.”
[I was there; it was a beautiful and inspiring piece of work, a constant reminder of the sanctity of living things] (13)

   This reverance for all life must extend to the topic of diet. How can we love creatures, especially higher forms of sentiency, when we still eat them? When I walk behind my house, I often see wild turkeys. I know if I feast on them at Thanksgiving they will know. This reminds me of a story my master used to tell. One of the Sikh gurus asked his disciples to go out and kill a pigeon where no one could watch them. Each went out and found a secret place and came back the next day satisfied that they had fulfilled the guru's request. Only one disciple could not find such a place. When asked why he had not succeeded in carrying out the request, he said, "everywhere I went, the pidgeon was watching me!"

   In the Christian tradition, there are dozens of stories and legends of saints and their relationships with the animal kingdom. While anthropomorphic, important to note is the often-found reference to a time when all of nature was of one mind, one heart, before the so-called ‘fall’ which disrupted the peaceful relationship within all of the kingdoms of nature. For instance, as taken from the website linked above:

   “Pacify yourself and heaven and earth will be pacified for you. The relationship of men towards animals perhaps should be presented under the prism of the creation of the world. We specifically read in Genesis, "and God created the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the animals after their kind and all that creep on the earth after their kind and God saw that it was good.” (Gen 1:25).

   “After his creation man is given dominion over all the animals, "over the fish of the sea and over the foul of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth (Gen 1:28).The dominion over the animals extends in their naming when God brought all the animals in front of him  to give them their name: "...and brought them unto Adam to call them and whatever Adam called every living thing, that was its name" (Gen 2:19).Thus man has authority over the animals as on all creation, being a creation "in the image of God". The animals looked on man as a crown of the complete creation, for this they not only submitted to him but lived in harmony between themselves.”

   “The fall of the first created did not only have a radical change in the relationship with God but also between man and creation. Having darkened the "image" and lacking the divine grace, man now is confronted with hostility by the dumb animals, "the beasts and all the animals of the earth seeing him denuded of the former divine glory, ignore him and immediately became harsh towards him". The result being that some animals he feared and other animals feared him. After the fall the whole creation waits, like man, for its liberation from the fetters of sin, "for we know that the whole creation groans and suffers in pain until now" (Rom 8:22), the whole creation suffers - thus the animals as well - together with the suffering man.”

   Be that as it may, some contemporary predators have demonstrated the rare quality of a 'pre-fall' animal, and the same may become a reality in a new golden age in the future, when 'the lion shall lay down with the lamb.'

   [The actual Biblical verse is: "The wolf will lie down with the lamb and the leopard with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together. Also the cow and the bear will graze and the lion will eat straw like the ox." - Isaiah 11:6-7].

   There are many more stories of the saints, one of the most famous being that of St. Francis taming a wolf. The irksome thing with the Catholic Church is that they only stress the miracle-working of their saints, and not the natural intelligence of the creatures themselves!

   Ansari of Herat (1006-1088) said:

   “O friend? Take care to do no harm to any living creature; to hurt His creation is to forget the Creator.”

   An often told tale in the Islamic tradition, with several variations, is about a holy man on pilgrimage who inadverdantly disturbs a family of ants:

   "A fakir once set out on a long journey, carrrying with him a bundle filled with bread to eat on the way. At the end of the first day on the road he came to a small mosque, and there he rested for the night. Resuming his journey early the next morning, he walked at a brisk pace for about ten miles and then decided to have a bite to eat. But when he opend his bundle, he found that his bread was full of ants. “Ah, that is too bad,” he thought. “For I have taken these poor ants a long way away from their home in that mosque. How they must be longing to see their parents, children and friends." Filled with solicitude for the welfare of the ants, the fakir retraced his steps and took the ants back to their home in the little mosque. “The heart in which love and compassion for all living beings resides, can have no room for seeking after personal pleasures.” (15)

   The saints and sages see only oneness. But we can learn to do the same. It is not that hard, since it is the truth. Boone described his method for communing with the kingdoms of nature. It is simply a process of developing sensitivity. He said that the animals were living intuitively and spontaneously without ego, and we need to match the vibration of their heart:

   “None of the interesting four-leggers was functioning with a private and independent mind of his own. All were reflecting the universal Intelligence as naturally and easily as they were their own breathing. They were expressing the divine Consciousness which ever includes, permeates, animates, and directs the entire universe, like individual rays of light and warmth express the sun.” (16)

   When encountering a creature, he would, first, be still, silent, and observant, attune himself with the universal Intelligence pervading all, make his heart beat in tune with the ‘universal heartbeat’, and then send out admiration, respect, and goodwill to the creature he was trying to communicate with. Invariably, whether in civilization or alone out in the jungle, he would find himself both making himself known to the animal and learning from him. All animals want to be seen, loved, appreciated, and allowed to express who they are, just like people. He felt that the state of communion he found himself in was “that wonderous long ago,” when, according to the ancient records, everything that lived, did so in perfect understanding with everything else. It was a period in which “the whole earth was of one language, and one speech.” (17)

   He said:

   “If you should ever encounter me walking along a dirt road and should see me pause, lift my hat and bow to the direction of the ground, you will know that I am paying my respects to a passing earthworm.” (18)

   Boone felt wisdom coming from the animals to him, often in pictures or intuitive thought, as if he were entering the silence spoken of by the sage Plotinus when he wrote:

   “In the intellectual world everything is transparent, and all the essences see one another and interpenetrate one another in the most intimate depths of their natures.” (19)

   Hidden within this secret [that are is one and part of a great universal consciousness or mind, and capable of transmitting and receiving waves of thought and impulses from the heart independently of the electro-magnetic spectrum], he felt, was the way that animals could find their way home over thousands of miles, or sense danger when it was far away. In one case he had established acceptance with a large group of monkeys in a clearing deep within a forest, when, after some time, all of a sudden they were alerted and ran away. He waited two hours and along came a party of armed men trophy hunting for monkeys. Somehow the animals knew that bad thoughts were being sent their way. While his year spent with Strongheart was his initiation into this world, he had intimate experiences with may other species, including a chimpanzee, dolphins, seagulls, insects, and more. He spent the rest of his life teaching his understanding to others .

   A native American shaman, Mojave Dan, once told him:

   “There's facts about dogs, and then there's opinions about them. The dogs have the facts, and the humans have the opinions. If you want the facts about the dog, always get them straight from the dog. If you want opinions, get them from humans.” (19a)

   Perhaps we should not be too surprised about Boone's story about the monkeys. Paul Brunton writes:

   "There is such a thing as telepathy. A fine concentrated thought, a strong emotion, once born, will float through the air and pass into some kindred mind which will discover and see it, just as the etheric waves which carry wireless speeches are flung around the world and picked up by receiving sets which are able to tune in, under appropriate conditions and within certain limitations."

   Then he gives an even higher metaphysical reason behind such phenomena:

   "Telepathy is possible not because thoughts can travel in space but because space is actually in thought." (19b)

   Animal communicators like Fred Kimball say that animals communicate through images, which one can learn to interpret and respond to in a way the animal can understand. Psychologist Gina Cerminara felt that animals had an sensitive awareness comparable to our own and especially

   "an acute faculty for judgement and appraisal that we ordinarily do not think about because it does not manifest itself in human speech." (20)

   A friend of Kimball's, Beatrice Lydeker, also an animal sensitive, says that:

   "Any animal can read your mind. The thought is in the pictures and this is what the pets see; for this reason a person who thinks he my get bitten by a dog stands a pretty good chance of having his mental picture fulfilled." (21)

   Buhner writes about meaning and language:

   "In the real world, the meanings are expressed out of living organisms, not dead and static words on a page. Meanings are always perceivable by human beings. If they were not, we could not understand language, and you would not be reading this book. It is our capacity for perceiving meaning that is primary, not language. Language comes second, out of our capacity to perceive meaning. Our language is a created form expressed out of the original nonverbal languages that human beings have always apprehended. It is a shadow, a reflection, a copy. Human language is only a special instance of language." (22)

   "The message behind the words is the voice of the heart." - Rumi

   "Astonishing! All things are intelligent." - Pythagoras (23)

   In all the time he spent with Native Americans, Boone confessed that he never heard of an Indian being endangered or attacked by a rattle snake in his life, while the case was not the same with the white man, because he didn't know how to first become silent in the great Spirit and commune respectfully without signs of fear with the animals.

   The key lies in accepting that all living things are thoughts in the mind of God, which itself has no trouble communicating with each thing, wherefore why should we, the closer we come to the realization of our place in this one omnipresent, omniscient spirit, what the Indians call the "Great Holy."

   As Geoffrey Oelsner beautifully points out, "the spirits of Nature are the expressions of the nature of Spirit." (23a)

   Boone gave some of the secrets he had learned from Strongheart:

   "He taught me that I was always to regard him as an unconditioned fellow being rather than as "a dog" in the conventional and restricted meaning of that term...Out of this teaching there developed a mental bridge, so to speak, between us...There was a strict obligation in this; I had to learn never to permit anything but the best thoughts to cross our bridge in his direction; and he, I know, never allowed anything but his best thoughts to come across to me...Neither Strongheart nor I was doing any communicating as ourselves. Neither of us was expressing himself as an original thinker or an independent source. On the contrary, we were being communicated through by the Mind of the Universe. We were being used as living instruments for its good pleasure...I was privileged to learn from my dog instructor how to get my human ego and intellect out of the way, how to blend my best with Strongheart's best, and how to let the Universe express itself through us, as the Universe with its wisdom and long experience well knows how to do."

   "In trying to hear and understand Strongheart when he silently spoke to me, or rather when he was spoken through by the Mind of the Universe, my conventional ears were great handicaps. They were geared to harsh and discordant earth sounds and were unable to pick up the delicate universal mental language, especially as it came through a dog. I made real progress only when I gave the most diligent heed to the "practically lost art of listening," which, as William Butler Yeats maintained, "is the nearest of all arts to Eternity."

   "Accompanying each one of these lessons was the indirect but important reminder that he and almost all other animals, except those spoiled by human association, always live out from a pure heart, that is, from pure motives. He made it clear that if I wanted to get along with him or any other living thing, I must live out from a pure heart and pure motives, too."

   "The more I tried to purify my thinking, my character, my purposes and my actions and to blend the best of me with the best of him in everything we did, the more the big dog and I began moving out beyond the restrictions and unreal boundaries of our respective species. We found ourselves operating in the boundless realm of the mental and the spiritual, where each of us could function fully and freely as an individual state of consciousness and together as fellow states of mind in an adventure that seemed to have no frontiers whatsoever."

   Napolean Bonaparte was saved by a Newfoundland after slipping on his ship and falling overboard. He did not know how to swim, and was kept above water by the dog until he could be rescued.

   Later, Napoleon came upon a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling, on a moonlit field after a battle. He was haunted by this scene until his own death, recalling:

   “This soldier, I realized, must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog. I looked on, unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations. Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what? By the grief of one dog.” (24)

   After getting up from our meditation cushion, do we still go home and ‘kick the dog’ ? That, they say, is a good indicator of the depths of one’s enlightenment.

   It is tempting to romanticize one way or the other when contemplating animal life. On the one hand, all creatures (and even plants) respond to love and intelligent respect, as has been shown again and again by many people, not just saints; on the other hand, animals kill and eat each other. Even the ants, who have been revered as examples of intelligence and ethical behavior by Herbert Spencer, and others for millenia, and who seem to have altruism in that their individual satisfaction comes only from what is good for the whole, and among whom researchers have found surprising individuality despite what many consider only a ‘hive-mentality’, still have sophisticated ‘ant-wars’. In a number of species of insects, such as the Praying Mantis and the Black Widow spiders, while mating the female eats the male. It is thus easy from our human vantage point to see nature as such as ‘fang and claw,’ or ‘nasty and brutish,’ until we realize that we cannot place our moral values on their behavior and world. Only with the development of the human ego, or perhaps the subconscous ego in some primates, has the development of hate been a possibility. Lower forms may kill and cannibalize each other, but they do so without hate. Redback male spider researchers say, in fact, that the male “seems almost exuberantly reconciled to his fate, and actually flips into his mate’s jaws while mating.” (25)

   The process of death may not be as it seems to us. For example, something that has long puzzled scientists is the cockroach’s ‘death pose’:

   “Cockroaches die in stages, progressing into a gradual euphoria or death state reminiscent of a yogic state in which all involuntary body processes are controlled. In the first stage, the cockroach stops eating and moving. The insect appears completely relaxed and totally unrelated to the world. As the gradual disengagement with the physical world proceeds, the cockroach voluntarily roles over on its back, legs limp. The cockroach may lay that way for several days before actually dying.” (26)

   Geoff Alison, blind from birth, who had a number of pet giant Madagascar cockroaches, whom he could recognize by the differences in their personalities, and noticed the way they behaved and tended a wounded one of their group, also picked up thoughts from them and knew how they welcomed his company, etc.. He had one special friend among them who he nursed through her dying stages:

   “When the time came for her to die, she signaled Alison. She was already on her back when he entered the room. He picked her up gently, and she conveyed through mental pictures that the time of death had arrived and that she was starting to vibrate or express through the whole of her being a pitch rising in volume [Could this be the creature attuning with the shabda-brahman?]. Before that compelling process drew her in further, she wanted to say goodbye to him. She conveyed that it had been good being together. It was her last communication to him. She became limp and died several days later at two years of age.” (27)

   It has been theorized by many that when a creature dies, it is not as it often seems:

   “Some studies suggest that the brain releases chemicals under life-threatening conditions that block pain and produce a euphoric feeling. Mystical sources say that violent acts of dying (as when one animal kills and devours another) are not always what they appear to be. There is an understanding, what Barry Lopez calls a “conversation of death,” and once it occurs, as the strike to disable and kill is made, the consciousness of the one dying leaves the body immediately. What we observe then in the struggle of the body is not conscious agony but reflex.” (28)

   This could apply to what is known as the so-called ‘death rattle’ in humans. The consciousness may have already left the body (as it can do in certain mystical processes), and the ‘agony’ is only the life-force then leaving the body.

   Animals, especially insects, have much to tell us about life, death, dying, and rebirth. That is why for ages they have been symbols of such transformation. Only in the industrial age have we come to see them as malevolent pests, out to get us at all times. Much of this is a product of science fiction movies (THEM!, The Thing, Tarantula, Arachnophobia, etc.) and books that portray these creatures as ugly, and therefore evil. But our perceptions have been terribly skewed. For instance, flies, cockroaches, and ants, besides serving extremely important ecological roles, are relatively clean. Flies in maggot form feed upon decayed tissues and have even been used in wound healing. The feared Black Widow spider is the occasion of only a handful of deaths over decades of time, and is rather shy and elusive. Out of thousands of species of scorpions, only twenty or so are poisonous and rarely lethal. Most bugs are harmless and our friends and supporters whom we couldn't live without.

   The butterfly, the logo for this website, has long been a symbol of hope and the eventual escape from death. It is thought to be at special times a representative of departed souls. It, through its chrysalis, and the moth, through its cocoon, undergo a complete dissolution and reformation into a new species. There is said to be a species of moth in southeast Asia that lives solely on the nutrients in human tears. That flies were souls seeking rebirth was a common belief in ancient cultures. The 'winged people' (butterflies, moths, dragonflies, hummingbirds) are felt by some sensitives to be interdimensional messengers between the spirit worlds and the physical realm.

   And if anyone doubts a supreme intelligence flowing through all of life he look no further than the phenomena of the monarch butterfly:

   "Monarch butterflies, the beautiful orange and black beauties that we love to behold fluttering through our gardens and forests, do not simply die off when the cold weather arrives. The migrate. At the appointed time, all of the Monarch butterflies in the continental United States set off for a particular glen in the southwest. Now here is an astonishing element of their odyssey: the butterflies that set out for the glen never reach it, but their children do. Along the way, the pregnant females give birth to their offspring and the parents die off. But the children keep flying. Somehow, without ever having been there, the young Monarchs arrived at the exact glade toward which their parents were headed!...All of these butterflies were guided to meet at a place none of them had ever been before. Surely there is a God who is wise and compassionate beyond our understanding." (28a)

   The scorpion with its sting, perhaps the most difficult creature to befriend, has since antiquity been a symbol of the forceful transformation and descent into the depths of the psyche which is often necessary for rebirth. It may sting us regardless of our kind thoughts and deeds, as the old Hindu story of the sage carrying the scorpion across the river and being stung many times until near death, because "that was their nature." This is because of it role as a wake-up call for the soul. The poet Rilke put it this way:

   “Whoever was beaten by this Angel...went away proud and strengthened and great from that harsh hand, that kneaded him as if to change his shape. Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.” (29)

   The praying mantis is a symbol of presence, stillness, and prophecy, and for the Bushmen of Africa - perhaps the closest we can get to the first humans on earth - it is spoken of as the Creator. It also is very intelligent and responsive. And it is said to be the only insect that never backs down, no matter how big its opponent. An interesting story is told of animal communicator, Sharon Callahan, describing how she first experienced the presence of God when she was six years old:

   "She was playing outside when she saw her cat corner something on the patio. Drawn to investigate, she bent down until she was suddenly face to face with a large insect. Although at the time she didn't know what kind of insect it was, it presence captivated her. While waving its "arms" as though it were trying to box with the cat [a praying mantis has even been photographed holding a humming bird], the insect kept its large eyes fixed on her with an expression so human, so conscious, that young Sharon was astonished. She offered it her hand, and it climbed onto it without hesitation. Lifting it to the highest willow branch that she could reach, she waited for it to move to safety. It didn't move right away, however, but stayed still, keeping its eyes on her face. It was a revelatory moment - although Callahan would not be able to put it into words until many years later. As an adult she describes the encounter as an epiphany. Throughout the years at pivotal times, she notes, a praying mantis appears - sometimes in person, other times in dreams or even in an object of art - but always with the "shiny conscious eye of that first encounter - God looking at me through the eye of the Mantis." (30)

   Beetles in Egypt were also a symbol of resurrection. There are supposed to be more beetles on earth than eighty per cent of all the species existing combined.

   Bees universally are symbols of harmony, calm, and peace, despite the fear that many have of them. Bee-keepers develop what is called ‘bee fever’, or a strong longing for their company, and report feeling peaceful when around them. Truly, the little things can teach us. In "Communicating with Insects”, Bob Schul beautifully relates some of the ‘human’ behavior of bees and other creatures. Did you know that bees mourn the death of their bee-keepers? Schul writes:

   "Communication between beekeepers and their bees has a long history in Europe. When a beekeeper died, it was the custom to let the bees know, in a ceremony called "teeling the bees." Sometimes the beehives was draped in black crepe. Following this ancient custom, after Sam Rogers, a cobbler and postman of the Schropshire village of Myddle, England, died, his children walked around his fourteen hives and told his bees. Newspapers reported that shortly after relatives of Rogers gathered at his grave, thousands of bees from Roger's hives more than a mile away came and settled on and about the coffin. The bees entirely ignored the flowering trees nearby. They stayed for about half an hour and then returned to the hives." (31)

   Many saints have been pictured as having bees swarming around their mouths when they were born: St. John Chrysostom, St. Bernard, St. Ambrose, even Plato; it was considered a sign of eloquence of speech. Indeed, the dance of bees has been considered to be an actual form of language. Further, legend has it that Prophet Muhammed said that the bee is the only creature ever spoken to by God. The bee was a symbol of the human soul in the solar cult Ra, whose tears were honey-bees, an image of the transforming power of compassion.

   I can attest to these feelings about bees. When I was twenty-one, I had a nighttime mystical experience where I felt myself drawn up to the top of the head somewhere, and felt as if I were crossing an ocean of celestial bees and flowers. I couldn’t see anything, but I heard and felt a wonderful buzzing harmony. The feeling: one of utmost love and comfort.

   Mystic Omran Michael Aivanhov said that:

   “The only thing that the great initiates, those true alchemists, teach is how to become a bee.” Highly advanced disciples or initiates are bees because they extract the pure and divine elements from the people around them, like nectar from flowers, and prepare a food in their hearts for the angels.” (32)

   The spider has been considered extremely intelligent, and its web was thought of by Aivanhov to be a mathematically perfect construction of the universe. Indigenous tribes have thought of the spider, with its web with intricate and exactly angles and patterns as the originator of the first alphabet, overseeing the development of language and writing. Among the Navajo, Arapaho, Osage, and Cheyenee tribes it was thought of as a sign of patience. The Oglala Dakotas saw the spider as a divine Trickster called Ikto, who was the first mature being in the world who named all of the people and animals.They were also a sign of protection. Legend has Muhammed, Jesus, and others taking shelter from their enemies in a cave, and a spider weaving a web blocking the entrance; when the adversaries arrived, they assumed no-one could have gone in to the cave without disturbing the web, and left them in peace.

   In the Harranian mysteries of ancient Mesopotamia, ants were considered to be brothers and sisters of humanity. Hindu scriptures speak of them as divine, as the ‘firstborn’ of the world. The Hopis believe that ants were the first people:

   “These Ant People obeyed the laws of creation, providing shelter to a few pious humans when the Creator destroyed the first world.” (33)

   Boone described how he talked to a hoard of ants that had overrun his kitchen, using the same techniques he used with higher species, speaking to them respectfully and compassionately, kindly asking them to find a new home, after which they promptly left his house.

   “Go to the ant, consider her ways, and be wise.” - Proverbs 6:6

   Paul Brunton made this unique observation, whether meant either for 'effect' or as fact:

   "Because evolution is not merely a physical matter of size and shape, because it is primarily a mental matter of intelligence and consciousness, philosophy finds the ant nearer to man than is the panther." (34)

   After the bee and wasp, the fly is thought to be the most important insect on earth. The former is important for their role in pollination, and the latter for feasting on decaying plant and animal matter. Again, we couldn't exist without them.

   When asked what he felt was the most important thing to teach children, the Dalai Lama replied:

   “Teach them to love the insects.” (35)

   Meister Eckhart had a similar vision:

   “Pray that we may apprehend and rejoice in that everlasting truth in which the highest angel and the fly and the soul are equal.” (36)

   Rumi wrote:

   “You should try to hear the name the Holy One has for things. We name everything according to the number of legs it has; The other one names things according to what it has inside.” (37)

   We must imaginatively return to the hoary mist of the dawn of creation to picture any of these stories as real. But there is legend and scripture that speaks of such a time when other species were considered, as Ramana Maharshi did, as ‘peoples’, as ‘thou’ and not ‘it’. The big vision, as Willis Harman has put it, is this:

   “Goal-seeking and purpose in other species appears to be a universal process through which Spirit contemplates and directs its own evolution.” (38)

   In the Holy Qu 'ran, the Prophet wrote:

   "Every creature in the heavens and the earth glorifies His Name."

   In Sufism they speak of language containing universal, divine sounds:

   "The three basic sounds are long vowel sounds of a, i, and u. These are what the Sufis call the universal harmonic constants, and they are similarly used in all mystic paths that utilize sound (otherwise called mantras or wazifahs)."

   "The word Allah, as an example, is just an elongation of the long vowel sound of a, interrupted once with the consonant of the letter l, which makes the shape of the letter a with the tongue. Even animals utter various combinations of these three long vowel sounds. The owl, for example, says, "Hoo!" The pronoun for God in Arabic is Hu, pronounced exactly the same way that the owl utters its remembrance of the divine name."

   "The Sufi, knowing the Arabic tones and names of God, is able to attune to a cosmic conversation that is constantly going on throughout all of existence as countless creatures utter their variations of the divine name."

   "The use of these three consonants is not arbitrary. The long vowel sound of a (as in father), as a vibratory tone, travels downward and slightly to the left from the throat and centers in the heart, thereby stimulating all of the divine attribute stored within. The long sound of i (as in machine) moves in the opposite direction, up the nasal septum, and vibrates at the point of the pineal gland, which is considered to be a remnant of the third eye, a light-sensitive organ. The long sound of u (as in you) exists when uttered exactly at the point on the pursed lips, the point of connection between the in-and out-breaths. It is where our action meets and intermingles with the divine permission, the idhn
[in Islam, man is breathes into life by the idhn or permission of God]."

   "So the very words we use to make conversation are hardly a random matter. When we say the word "eat" (Making the sound of the long i), for example, we are actually stimulating the endocrine system's pineal gland! The pineal gland receives a vibratory signal that causes a series of ethereal shocks which go throughout the body, providing information to all of the physiological functions."

   "This interaction between the physical and spiritual realms exists all through nature, of which humans are a part. One might say that animals are more attuned to it; sometimes horses and other animals give a particular sound just before they die, and animals nearby know the meaning of this sound. Animals have greater awareness of the unseen realms."

   In Boone’s world, everything in creation is sentient and capable of communicating, with or without a brain, and it is to our benefit to take part in such inter-species relating. Modern civilization is making it harder and harder, unfortunately, and, not only the ecology, but we as human beings are the poorer for it.

   An article that appeared in 1924, called “Removing Our Human Blinders” by Sarah Belle Daugherty, spoke to this point. Click here for a list of articles on universal brotherhood across all species lines.

   Bob Schul also gives us a philosophical view of J. Allen Boone’s previously mentioned relationship with his house-fly Freddie:

   “Boone made friends with the fly, and it would join him each morning at seven o’clock by landing on his shaving mirror. Boone would invite him to climb aboard his finger and he would gently stroke the fly’s wings. Freddie paraded up and down his finger, and they would play a game in which Boone tossed the fly in the air and caught him again on the tip of his finger.”

   “The early-morning rendezvous between fly and human continued for some time, and the small housefly would also come when Boone called his name. Remembering what he had learned from the wise German shepherd Strongheart, Boone reminded himself first that inherently, Freddie the fly and himself as living beings were inseparable parts of an interrelated, interfunctioning, and all-including Totality. Second, he knew that neither the fly nor he were originating causes for anything but were instead individual living expressions of a universal divine Cause or Mind that was ever speaking and living itself through each of them and through everything else.”

   “He was to discover, as he had with other creatures, that much was to be learned by “silently talking across to him. Not as to ‘a fly’ with all the limiting and condemning things that we humans usually fasten on flies, but as to an intelligent fellow being.” In order to truly appreciate Boone’s experience with Freddie, we seem to be required to adopt a shift in consciousness. The experience can be viewed as a bizarre and isolated experience with an insect, or it can be understood as communication between two expressions of God.”

   Nor need we look only to the animal kingdom to find our spiritual brothers. The same rules appear to apply in the world of plants as well. George Washington Carver became one of the most famous and legendary plant scientists of his time, like Luther Burbank, for his ability since early childhood to talk to plants and learn from them. He said:

   "All flowers talk to me, and so do hundreds of living things in the wood. I learn what I know by watching and loving everything."

   When asked about his secret, he replied,

   "The secrets are in the plants. To elicit them you have to love them enough...Everyone can [do it] , if only they believe it."

   "I never grope for methods. The method is revealed the moment I am inspired to create something new. I live in the woods. I gather specimens and listen to what God has to say to me. After my morning talk with God I go into my laboratory and begin to carry out his wishes for the day."

   "When I touch a flower, I am not merely touching that flower. I am touching infinity. That little flower existed long before there were humans on earth. It will continue to exist for thousands, yes, millions of years to come...How do I talk to a flower? Through it I talk to the Infinite. And what is the Infinite? It is that silent, small force. it isn't the outer physical contact. No, it isn't that. The Infinite is not confined in the visible world. It is not in the earthquake, the wind or the fire. It is that still small voice that calls up the fairies. There are certain things, often very little things, like the little peanut
[Carver became famous for his word with the peanut, discovering literally dozens of uses for it], the little piece of clay, the little flower that cause you to look within - and then it is that you see into the soul of things." (41)

   Carver's contemporary, Luther Burbank, was also a child-prodigy with plants, whose later methods baffled scientists all over the world. Burbank created over a hundred new species of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers, all based on his intimate communication and appreciation of with them. His methods were anything but rigorous: he wrote on scraps of paper from brown paper bags and the back of envelopes; he didn't keep formal notes because the plants told him what to do. He said that his method was:

   "A matter of concentration and the rapid elimination of the nonessentials." (42)

   Manly Palmer Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society, said that:

   "Burbank explained to me that in all his experimentation he took plants into his confidence, asked them to help, and assured them that he held their small lives in deepest regard and affection...He secured [their cooperation] by getting down on his knees and explaining to the shrubs the entire purpose of the experiment. Plants have more than twenty sensory perceptions but, he said, because they are different from ours, we cannot recognize them...He was not sure that the shrubs and flowers understood his words, but he was convinced that by some telepathy, they could understand his meaning." (43)

   He had a belief in a form of individualization in his plants, as the following statement attests:

   "The most stubborn living thing in this world, the most difficult to swerve is a plant once fixated in certain habits. Remember this plant has preserved its individuality all through the ages; perhaps it is one which can be traced backward through eons of time in the very rocks themselves. Do you suppose, after all these ages of repetition, the plant does not become possessed of a will, if you so choose to call it, of unparalleled tenacity?" (44)

   Of interesting note, during the great earthquake of 1906 that destroyed much of San Francisco and basically leveled Santa Rosa, Burbank's nearby greenhouse did not have even one panel of glass cracked. His deep communing with nature protected his greenhouse from harm. Stories about of nature being at the beck and call of great saints both east and west.

   Many researchers of the spirit have claimed there are nature spirits or devas associated with plants, angels with animals, and even 'Guardian Archangels' in the case of Man. Each of these kingdoms have their own form of consciousness, rich and complex in their own right, but all are guided by an all-pervading Universal intelligence.

   In “Our Intelligent Companions, the Plants” by John Van Mater, Jr., a theme earlier elaborated on in the well-known book, “The Secret Life of Plants,” is explored with mention to the work of professor Bose, the first scientist to attempt to find a universal language across species lines. Have we forgotten that Plants Have Souls, and are we so deaf and dumb that we fail to notice When Trees Sing, that Water is A Teacher, or that there are Rocks That Can Talk ? To become a shaman is a useful stage on the path.

   The ancient sage, Dattatreya, author of the Tripura Rahasya and the Avadhuta Gita, told King Yadu that he attained realization through the help of twenty-four gurus, meaning twenty-four elements in nature, both animate and inanimate. How true he was, how true.

   “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

   “All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.”
- Mohandas Gandhi

   "I must interpret the life around me as I interpret the life that is my own. My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine."

   "Whenever I injure any kind of life I must be quite certain that it is necessary. I must never go beyond the unavoidable, not even in apparently insignificant things. The farmer who has mowed down a thousand flowers in his meadow in order to feed his cows must be careful on him way home not to strike the head off a single flower by the side of the road in idle amusement, for he thereby infringes the law of life without being under the pressure of necessity."
- Albert Schweitzer (45)

   “The more evolved you become, the more compassionate you become, the more you show loving kindness to everything, to the mineral kingdom, to the vegetable kingdom, to the animal kingdom, and to the human kingdom. You show total compassion, loving kindness. You become an embodiment of love simply because everything is you." - Robert Adams

     Kirpal Singh once admonished his son Darshan for cutting off too many leaf plates for the langar, saying that using even one more than necessary was a sin against nature. Ramana would tell his ashram workers not to cut back vegetation without great care, for to do so caused undo suffering for the plants. Such sensitivity is the natural heart of man in its innate purity.

   In conclusion, universal Intelligence, consciousness, and love, run through all living things. "It's all around if we could but perceive.“ May we follow the great ones in their humble vision of unity, and remember,

   "Everything in Oneness has a purpose. There are no freaks, misfits, or accidents. There are only things that humans do not understand.” - Regal Black Swan (46)

   "There is a mind behind every particle of dust." - Yog-Vasistha

   "Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul." - Frances Hodgson Burnett

   "Ask the very beasts, and they will teach you:
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
    or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
   Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
   In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind."
- Job 12:7-10

   Can You Feel the Love Tonight?


1. Rumi, source unknown
2. Black Elk, source unknown
3. Don Salmon and Jan Maslow, Yoga Psychology and the Transformation of Consciousness (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2007), p. 6
4. Colin Drake, “The Universe and Consciousness”
5. J. Allen Boone, Kinship with All Life (HarperCollins Publishers, 954), p. 64, 73-74, 76

[Here is a moving four-minute audio clip of a fairwell eulogy Boone wrote to Strongheart].

6. J. Allen Boone, “Journey’s End”, in Letters to Strongheart (Robert H. Sommer, Publisher, 1939
7. Dzogchen Ponlop, Mind Beyond Death (Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion Publications, 2006), p. 105, 182-183, 164
8. Stephen Harrod Bruhner, The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature (Rochester, Vermont: Bear & Company, 2004), p. 71, 81-87
8a. Click here for more on the Science of the Heart
9. anadi, book of enlightenment (www.anaditeaching.com, 2011), p. 137-138

9a. This is a complicated and mysterious topic. We simply do not have enough data to make a firm conclusion. It may be that there are souls who choose, either for personal experience or for service to the animal kingdom, to incarnate into that kingdom. It may also be, as many claim, that some are forced by karma to incarnate there, but usually only for one lifetime. If so, they would probably not be the likeliest candidates for liberation while in that realm. It may also be that their are other types of consciousness connected to the nature kingdoms that are not the same as ordinary animals, but that do incarnate within their forms at times. This could be extra-terrestrial or supra-mundane beings that would account for the seeming extra intelligence, devotion and other higher qualities among some creatures than others, the dolphin being one possible example. Or Lakshmi. Then it becomes more difficult to know just what type of consciousness we are dealing with in regard to a particular animal. Like everything, it remains a mystery.

10. from At The Feet of Bhagavan
11. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi)
12. Portrait of Perfection
13. S.P. Chopra, from The Ocean of Divine Grace
14. Soterios Lysikatos, “The Saints and the Animals”
15. Tales of the Mystic East, (Punjab, India: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1977), p. 135
16. J. Allen Boone, Adventures in Kinship with All Life Joshua Tree, California: Tree of Life Publications, 1990), p. 97
17. Ibid, p. 83
18. J. Allen Boone, Kinship with All Life (New York, New York: Harper Collins, 1954), p.
19. Enneads, as quoted in: J. Allen Boone, Adventures in Kinship with All Life, op. cit., p. 42
19a. Boone, op. cit., p. 47-48
19b. Paul Brunton, The Notebooks of Paul Brunton (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1988), Vol. Part 3, 5.82, 5.54
20. Bob Schul, Life Song: In Harmony with All Creatures (Walpole, New Hampshire: Stillpoint Publishing, 1994), p. 10
21. Ibid, p. 16
22. Buhner, op. cit., p. 256
23. Ibid, p. 160
23a. Geoffrey Oelsner, A Country Where All Colors Are Sacred and Alive (Everett, Washington: Lorian Press, 2012), p. 34
23b. Boone, op. cit., p. 74-83
24. source unknown
25. Joanne Elizabeth Lauck, The Voice of the Infinite in the Small (Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, 2002), p. 192
26. Ibid, p. 87
27. Ibid, p. 87-88
28. Ibid, p. 265-266
28a. Alan Cohen, Dare To Be Yourself (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991), p. 45
29. Ranier Marie Rilke, “A Man Watching,” News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness, ed. and trans. by Robert Bly (San Francisco, California: Sierra Club, 1980), p. 121-122
30. Lauck, op. cit., p. 271
31. Schul, op. cit., p. 186
32. Lauck, op. cit., p. 136
33. Ibid, p. 94; the Bible and many sources speak of a first and second creation, divided by a cataclysm or divine judgement of some sort. Velikovsky puts a cosmological slant on this. The Bible speaks of a fall or original sin, while the gnostics saw no fall but spiritual evolution at work. As has been suggested in this article, however, there are basically two points of view coming down from antiquity. One, the Jewish legends, have the soul of man created long before the body of man. Then man named all of the animals and himself created seventy languages. This correlates fairly well with the theosophical view whereby the animal forms developed through an astral evolution before precipitating out of the ethers into physical form at discrete intervals (which discrete intervals some modern fossil records attest), while the soul of man awaited their perfection before incarnating, and, with a few modifications, assumed its physical form. On the other hand, in many ancient stories, especially among the indigenous peoples, there is a grand mythology of animal "peoples", some of whom were revered as the Creator, the originators of language, speech, and even man himself. [In the book of Genesis itself there are two parallel stories, one in which man is created first, and one in which the animals were created before man]. This also makes some kind of sense if we envision a development on the subtle planes prior to the soul's physical incarnation. Yet it also opens up an even grand panorama of history if we accept the existing worldwide accounts of not just two, but up to seven physical destructions and creations before the present world was settled as it is.
34. Paul Brunton, op. cit., Vol. 16, Part 2, 4.186
35. Lauck, op. cit, p. 114
36. Ibid, p. 55
37. version by Robert Bly
38. Lauck, op. cit., p. 84
39. Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chisjti, The Book of Sufi Healing (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1991), p. 15-16
40. Bob Schul, Life Song – In Harmony With All Creation (Stillpoint Publishing, P.O. Box 640, Walpole NH 03608), p. 185
41. Ibid, p. 21, 24-25
42. Ibid, p. 27
43. Ibid, p. 30-31
44. Ibid, P. 31
45. Charles Joy, ed., The Animal World of Albert Schweitzer
46. Marlo Morgan, Mutant Message Down Under